In December of 2020, the U.S. experienced a second wind of employment tragedy as the effects of the coronavirus again bore down on the economy, forcing businesses to resort to more layoffs and contributing to a loss of an additional 140,000 jobs. December’s decline in employment followed the devastating month of April eight months prior, when the U.S. lost 20.8 million jobs.
Defying odds, Step Denver has maintained its pre-pandemic success rate, with 99% of Step residents obtaining full-time, tax-paying employment within their first month of entering the addiction recovery program. This feat can undoubtedly be attributed to Step’s designated Career Center, spearheaded by Career Counselor Mark McCright.
Upon entry to the program, Step residents are given the tools to secure a “stability” job. Before the pandemic hit, the hotel and restaurant industries served as primary employment sources for these jobs. To adapt to the times, McCright instead steered new residents towards places of business that were continuing to thrive – specifically restaurants that offer drive-thru and delivery, grocery stores, and residential facilities such as nursing homes. Additionally, warehouse and production jobs have seemingly not been affected by the pandemic, as Step residents have continued to find opportunity in these industries.
What has stayed the same are the tactics implemented by Step residents in gaining employment. As part of the guidance residents receive in Step’s Career Center, residents learn the importance of strategic resume practices and soft skills, including networking within the recovery community. Key to Step residents’ success in obtaining employment in the first month is being prepared to talk about gaps in their employment history and criminal background history resulting from their struggles with addiction. Residents are advised on how to optimize their patchy job history by learning how to speak to their recovery as a strength, thus allowing them to build trust with the potential employer.
Step residents enter the Denver workforce with a unique competitive advantage – deepened insight about who they are and a keen focus on how the job at-hand will fit into the life of recovery they are working to build. They are highly motivated and equipped with exemplary work ethic, having come to Step after losing everything, and are eager to rebuild a life for themselves and their families.
Local employers interested in offering full-time, payroll employment for formerly homeless men residing at Step Denver should contact Career Counseling Manager Mark McCright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-370-3276.